Site hosted by Build your free website today!

A Tribute to Rat Terriers Everywhere


Favorite Links 


Please feel free to visit our message board.  Just click below.










Sales of  these items benifit the American Rat Terrier Rescue



Awards that we have won.

May 2001


May 2001













Thanks to Sergeant Joyce's loving care, Fluffy quickly flourished.



 On the streets of a city in northern Iraq, a scruffy, bony,  homeless German Shepherd wandered aimlessly. His head and legs were covered with scars, and he was missing several teeth. His local owners had beaten the emaciated dog. He needed a place to live, so Kurdish soldiers brought him to the Third Group, Special Forces, Alpha Company, Third Battalion.

It was a perfect match -- or so it seemed. The Special Forces unit had worked with a guard dog in Afghanistan and needed one again to help prevent surprise attacks. Some of the soldiers didn't think this frail creature would be able to do the job, but Sergeant Russell Joyce knew better. He took over the animal's care, feeding, and training, and gave the dog a good, American name -- Fluffy.

Under the Sergeant's auspices, Fluffy soon changed into a quick, bright guard dog, able to tell the difference between an Iraqi and an American at a sniff. Twice he was involved in enemy attacks on the base he was trained to keep safe. "He definitely looked after us," says Sergeant Joyce. "If any American walked guard, Fluffy would go right along with the soldier and stand right by him." To the surprise of all the soldiers, the former stray had truly become a United States war dog -- and a hero.

But Russell's time in Iraq was drawing to a close. He was very happy to be going home, but he immediately thought of Fluffy. Since the dog did not come to the war zone with the American troops, he was still considered an Iraqi. Joyce was told if he could not find Fluffy a good, local home, the dog would have to be killed.

The clock was ticking; the unit Joyce had arranged to take care of Fluffy temporarily was doing so unofficially and could not keep him forever. The dog's self-made handler took swift action. One of the desperate emails Russell sent found its way to the computer of Ron Aiello, president of the US War Dogs Association and himself a Vietnam war dog handler. Ron called the Sergeant.

"What I heard in his voice was something I heard hundreds of times from former military handlers from the Vietnam era. They talk about their canines to this day and the love and devotion we have for them," says Ron. "Russell had that same emotion about Fluffy."


Aiello wrote to Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld and set up a page in Fluffy's honor on the US War Dogs Web site. In no time, Sergeant Joyce received emails from thousands of


Fluffy arrives at his new home in the US with Sergeant Joyce.



people and organizations -- including North Shore Animal League America -- and correspondence from 32 senators, all asking what they could do to help.

Finally, it was decided -- Fluffy would become a very unusual exception to a strict military rule. He would be designated an honorary working military dog with honorary war dog status. In Washington, Army Deputy Division Chief Don Stump sliced through some more red tape, and then thirty high-level military personnel signed off to transfer the brave dog to the United States. Operation Free Fluffy had come to a successful conclusion.

On June 7, Sergeant Russell Joyce, his wife Caroline, and his daughters Sam and Elise welcomed newly retired military dog Fluffy to Fort Bragg, North Carolina. Since that day, Fluffy has become a very important member of the family and friend to all. But it obvious to everyone that Fluffy has a special love for Sergeant Joyce. And the feeling is mutual. "I don't label him as a pet," says Russell. "He's my buddy."

Six times each year, North Shore Animal League America presents the Elisabeth Lewyt Award to a heroic dog or cat. For his brave actions on the field of battle, and for Sergeant Russell Joyce's' dedication, Fluffy and his handler were presented with the League's most recent award at a reception in Alexandria, VA.

Normally, the shelter that cared for the four-pawed honoree is also presented with an award. In Fluffy's case, no shelter was involved. The League decided that the shelter award should be presented to the US War Dogs Association, not only in Fluffy's honor but also on behalf of all the brave and unrecognized dogs who have served with our armed forces in the past.

Thank you for your clicks and shopping at The Animal Rescue Site. Your efforts aid the important work of our nonprofit partners including North Shore Animal League America.

Source: North Shore Animal League America

Contact The Animal Rescue Site:

For more information on our animal rescue projects:
North Shore Animal League,
The Fund For Animals,



Site designed by McClain Creative Design